It’s just another phase in the continued commoditization of infrastructure. It started a decade or two ago with the OS and has been followed in quick succession by the web and J2EE stacks.
While not free, cloud computing offerings by the likes of Amazon.com have definitely opened the realm of possibility to the average developer.
Hadoop is just the next logical procession in all of this, an implementation of something Google pioneered and has been running for 4 or 5 years now. Continued contributions to the project from Yahoo! (assuming they continue to open-source the majority of their improvements) and others can only strengthen it’s appeal.
In the case of Google, they’ve been very successful because of what they’ve been able to build on top of their infrastructure. They have long realized the importance of well architected distributed systems and their developers see those benefits today. As developers, it’s amazing how simple things are when you’re able to think about them serially. Google and Yahoo! understand that, so should we.
The resources that used to be precious are now freely available. So then what becomes the bottleneck? What becomes the skill that is valued?
* Implementation. The ability to leverage all the pieces together effectively.
* Business Acumen. By this, I mean having a smart business plan. If you are going to pull this off, you are going to need to cover the cost of using the cloud computing and the initial servers. Yet if you can come up with a way to make enough money off of each individual using the service, it could potentially be self sustaining. Google and Yahoo could even help you compete against them by supplying you with revenue from ads.
I’ll add Availability of useful and interesting data to this list. You can have all the processing power in the world but if it’s not directed towards solving interesting problems, you’ll have a very small audience.